Writing in the Washington Post on Friday, Dawkins described Ratzinger as a "leering old villain in a frock … whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence."
Without admitting that he had consulted lawyers he added: "This former head of the Inquisition should be arrested the moment he dares to set foot outside his tinpot fiefdom of the Vatican, and he should be tried in an appropriate civil – not ecclesiastical – court. That's what should happen. Sadly, we all know our faith-befuddled governments will be too craven to do it."
Pope Benedict will be in Britain from 16-19 September where he will beatify the theologian Cardinal John Henry Newman.